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Search Techniques: Effective Library Research

For effective online searching you need to invest time up front to develop a search strategy using a range of search techniques.

Effective Library Research

To search effectively you need to invest time up front to plan your research strategy.

For taught modules you will often be guided to key research and readings by your lecturer through recommended materials on reading lists.

When you are conducting your own research for your essays, assignments, projects, dissertation etc. you need to develop your own strategy to identify the information you require, search relevant resources, evaluate the quality of your search results and manage the relevant literature that you wish to use in your work.

You may well use a broader range of resources than just books and journals so you will need to take care to evaluate the resources you use, as not all will be as unbiased or as accurate as the scholarly books and journals you will have used previously.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  The use of effective online search techniques and strategies will help you tailor your searching to find the most relevant content for your needs. If you invest time upfront thinking and planning these out, it will ease the whole process.

Use the My Learning Essentials materials below, produced by the University of Manchester Library, to help build your skills in this area and explore the tabs in this Search Techniques Libguide to develop you own search strategies and put them in to action.    

You can call on your Library Liaison Team for support if you need help and advice on finding and using library resources for your learning and research.

And we recommend you take a look at the Sage Research methods Online database. It holds a vast amount of information on all aspects of research methodology.

Sage Research Methods Online - SRMO

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

Library Liaison Team @ Exeter

Get in touch for help and advice on making the most of your library resources, or book a 1:1 appointment with a Librarian.

My Learning Essentials Resources - University of Manchester Library

My Learning Essentials resources are developed by The University of Manchester Library, and are licensed under CC BY-NC 3.0. My Learning Essentials © The University of Manchester.

Use the guides to help you build your skills and confidence in finding, using and managing information for your assignments and projects.

You can work through all the guides, or just focus on those that meet your needs.  For example:

  •  if you need guidance on building effective online search strategies, then take a look at Planning ahead: making your search work
  • if you need guidance on evaluating the quality of different information sources, take a look at Finding the good stuff: evaluating your resources.

Library Liaison Team @ Cornwall

Get in touch for help and advice on making the most of your library resources